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Ahtna Kanas Winter 2023

Heather Yates Selected as Chief Ranger for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Please join us in congratulating Heather Yates on being selected as Chief Ranger for Wrangell -St. Elias National Park and Preserve (WRST)! Heather is the daughter of Roy and the late Judy Yates and granddaughter of the late Robert and Mae Marshall. She is a proud recipient of the Walter Charley Memorial Scholarship Program and credits “the program for contributing to my successful career!”

From the NPS release (

Heather was born and raised in Glennallen, AK and graduated from Glennallen High School, where she played basketball and volleyball for the Panthers. After high school she attended, and graduated from, Southern Oregon University with degrees in Criminology and Communications. Her career with the National Park Service began in 1998 when she served as the Subsistence Specialist at WRST for two years. Eventually, Heather was hired into a Protection Ranger position at WRST (primarily stationed in the Slana/Nabesna area) where she remained for an additional two years.

In 2002, after 27 years in Alaska, Heather made the decision to move to the Lower 48 where she worked as a field protection ranger at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Saguaro National Park, and Yosemite National Park. In 2010, Heather returned to Lake Mead National Recreation Area as a Supervisory Protection Ranger and in 2015, she accepted a position as Chief Ranger at Petrified Forest National Park.

Since moving to the Lower 48, Heather has returned to Alaska annually to visit family. She has enjoyed spending summers halibut fishing out of Valdez and Homer and winters downhill skiing at Alyeska.

“I look forward to being back in Alaska to serve as the senior law enforcement officer at the park where I began my NPS career 24 years ago!” said Heather.